How did an artillery dial sight work?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Chris C, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Hi all,

    I don't understand how a dial sight worked exactly. (Was there a manual for its use?) Apologies if I have asked this and forgotten, but I can't find a previous post by myself on the subject.

    edit: ugh, right after posting this I tried another google search and came across this on Nigel's artillery site:


    I will post again with any questions if I have them.

    - I am unclear on how each gun's aiming points would actually be used, if generally the command post would specify the bearing to the target from the zero line. edit: I think this was used to correct the aim if the gun or the sight moved during fire?
    - What would a gunner actually see when they looked in the eyepiece?
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
  2. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code

    I am quoting from post war practice, but I don't think matters much.

    The aiming points are part of the gun drill and local to the gun and its detachment.
    Only one aiming point is used at any one time. The No 1 determines which AP is to be used.
    There is a distant AP (GAP) as far away as visible and a GAP2 300-600yds to be used in the event that visibility drops.
    There may be a troop night light.
    The Command post does not get involved in the choice of AP. The GPO can order a change in the methods of aiming posts by ordering "Aiming posts" or "Paralleloscopes"

    What the layer sees through the dial sight depends on the aiming point. ;)

    A lot of the time it is going to be the two aiming posts or the parallel lines in the parallelescope

    The aiming point should have a defined clear edge a church tower or a barn rather than a tree.
    The vertical cross hair should be aligned with the left hand edge of the GAP. Woe betide the layer whose sights show the LHS of the wrong church tower or another gun's aiming posts after the orders "STOP" and "DETACHMENTS REAR" after some explosions outside the range area. ;)

    What is your interest in gun drill? You need to find a copy of the relevant gun drill book.
    Chris C likes this.
  3. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    As usual I probably haven't communicated myself well. :)

    I did want to - would still love to know more - about what cross hairs or other markings were visible when one looked through the dial sight. i.e. what sort of lines did the cross hair have?

    Also as usual my interest relates to the Archer (what else?). I recently took note in photographs of the fact that it had a small folding metal flap - now that I understand the use of the dial sight more, it was so the view of the layer was not obstructed by the gun shield when using the dial sight.

    Here is the dial sight on the inside...

    And how it looked on the outside. The flap is that square near the top of the image. It was hinged at the bottom (I think it is actually flipped down in another photo) and it looks like there was a little latch to hold it in place. The gunner's telescope looked through the vertical aperture further down.

    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019

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